The True Church
The Apostle Paul would tell us, back in the old testament, Moses predicted that One would be raised up among the brethren for all to hear. This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. (Acts 7:37). Moses quoted this in (Deuteronomy 18:15), "God would raise up a Prophet from the midst of thee." Also predicted by the prophet Isaiah. Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14). "God with us." Future prophecy of the Messiah. (Savior and Head of the church). Now lets go to the book of Ephesians and make a connection between the old and the new testament.
Paul would quote: Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (Ephesians 2:19). We are all fellow citizens of God's Country, and the church, because of Christ. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. This is the foundation (The Cornerstone, The Rock), we should stand on. The Prophets are the Old Testament, the Apostles are the New Testament, and Christ is the cornerstone for both. Lets go to the book of Matthew and see what Jesus would say about the true church and how it began.
Jesus addressed the brethren about the importance of "spiritual food" over physical food, and made the connection between the good and bad doctrine. Jesus would warn the disciples about the church teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:12). They understood that by "yeast" He meant the "wrong teachings" of the Pharisees and Sadducees. This happens in many ministries today; confusion, false teaching, and traditions of men work there way into the church.
Jesus would address and question the disciples again in Caesarea: When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (Matthew 16:13). The "Son of Man." This would be Christ in the flesh. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. (Matthew 16:14). The majority of the people really did not know. Jesus asked them again: He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (Matthew 16:15). Jesus would ask the disciples who they thought He was. One among the brethren would give the answer He was after. "His name was Peter." And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:16). Simon Peter got it right, He was the Christ, (anointed one), the Son (only begotten), of the living God. (Again, Jesus Christ being the Foundation, Chief Cornerstone and Rock of the Christian faith).
Jesus replied to Simon Peter: And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 16:17). God has blessed you Simon (Peter), for my Father in heaven has personally revealed this to you, this is not from any human force. But now Jesus changes Simon Peters name to Peter. (Peter meaning "Petros" a piece of rock), a movable rock. (Not a foundation or cornerstone). And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18). Again, "Peter" in the Greek, G4074 is "Petros" (piece of rock), a stone (movable). And upon this "Rock" Greek G4073 "Petra" (meaning mass rock or bolder), an unmovable rock, I will build my church; and all the powers of hell will not prevail against it. This is a very controversial scripture between scholars. It is not Peter that Christ would build the church on, Christ is that "rock" that the church will be built on! (Peter, John, and the other apostles would go on to establish the church in Acts 1 and 2). Their first meeting was at Jerusalem in the upstairs room of a house they were staying at. (Several women were present also). Lets go to the book of Acts.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. (Acts 1:14). They met together united in prayer along with Mary the mother of Jesus as well as other women and the brothers of Jesus. (You could say it was the "first church" meeting or bible study gathering of Christians). And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty). (Acts 1:15). About 120 Christians gathered together that established the "first church" and Peter stood to address them. (This gathering and prayer meeting went on for several days). "Quite the bible study." Shortly after the day of Pentecost came and they assembled in one place. This would be the time when the "Holy Spirit" fell among the crowd and many received the word and were baptized. (About another three thousand souls were added to them). We could call them the first of the many member body of Christ.
Lets take a look at a few old testament scriptures where the word "rock" (Petra), an unmovable rock is used. And he said, The Lord is my "Rock," and my fortress, and my deliverer. The God of me "Rock" in Him will I trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Savior; thou savest me from violence. (2 Samuel 22:2-3). For who is God save the Lord? Or who is a "Rock" save our God? (Psalm 18:31). "Our God is the unmovable Rock."
Now lets move on to the new testament. As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and "Rock" of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Romans 9:33). God's warning! "I am placing a "stone" in Jerusalem that makes people stumble. (Satan and false teachings). The Rock of offence: (Jesus Christ and truth in the word). Anyone who trusts in the "Rock" will never be ashamed. (Isaiah 8:14-15, 28:16, Matthew 21:42). Trust in "Our Rock" (Jesus Christ), and you will never be ashamed.
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:4). Our spiritual "Rock" is Christ that the true church was built upon. Did the disciples understand this? Of course they did. "Especially Peter." (We should also understand and see this truth).
Lets go to the book of Peter and see what he has to say about Jesus being the "Rock," "Cornerstone," and head of the church. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (1 Peter 2:6). Christ is that cornerstone to those who understand and believe on Him and they will not be confused. Are you confused? Do you know truth when you here it? Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner. (1 Peter 2:7). Many will not accept Christ and His teachings, they just play church and follow traditions of men. And a stone of stumbling, and a "Rock" of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (1 Peter 2:8). Even Peter knew Jesus was the "Rock" (petra, unmovable rock), that the church was built upon, "not him." What Peter is saying here is that when people play church and follow traditions of men they will not understand the truth of God's Word. "Christ can become a stumbling block to them." How can Christ become a stumbling block you may say? Remember that the antichrist comes first and will deceive many into believing he is the real Christ. He will be the "stumbling block" to those who follow him. God will also let you be deceived and believe a lie if you do not follow the truth of the Word. (2 Thessalonians 2:5-12). Lets move on to the Acts of the apostles.
In the book of Acts, we will see that some of the first Christians were established in Antioch by Paul and Barnabas. And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. (Acts 11:26). Both Paul and Barnabas went back to Antioch where they stayed for a full year teaching new converts. (It was in Antioch that the believers were first called Christians). Keep in mind that Paul spoke many languages and was a great communicator. (Christianity being established).
So, who or what is the true church? There's no one church, or religious organization that can make this claim. "The true church is the many member body of Christ." For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office. (Romans 12:4). As Christians we are all members of the same body of Christ, and each of us has a special function. (1 Corinthians 12:4), Got gives us all special spiritual gifts, but they all come from the Holy Spirit. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Romans 12:5). Through Christ's body we are many parts of one body, and we belong to each other. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). Jesus was not interested in denominations, stone buildings, or crystal cathedrals, He was interested in those who would be teaching the truth. Chapters 2 & 3 in the book of Revelation are written to the churches of Asia minor, which made up the group of churches representing the churches of the world. Only two of the seven churches were pleasing to God because of what they taught. The two churches were the church of Smyrna and the church of Philadelphia. Read our study topic titled: "The Seven Churches," to see what they were teaching.
So you see, it is not so much what church you belong to, but rather what your church is teaching. If your church is teaching chapter by chapter truth in the gospels, it is pleasing to the Heavenly Father. If your church is teaching their own doctrine, false teachings, or traditions of men, it is not pleasing to God. In the book of Matthew, after the resurrection of Jesus, He came to the disciples and appointed them. He spoke to them saying: All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18). When you are in Christ, there is no need to fear. "He has power over everything." He would instruct His disciples to: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19). Teach His word to all the nations. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:20). Teach these new disciples all things in His Word. All of it! "And be sure that I will be with you till the end of the world." (With us at all times through the Holy Spirit).
The apostle Paul would tell us: For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12). The human body has many parts that make up the whole body. "It is the same with the many member body of Christ." (We all take part in the many member body of Christ as true professing Christians). For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13). Baptized into one body (the many member body of Christ), by one Spirit. "The Holy Spirit!" (Matthew 3:11, Ephesians 4:5). For the body is not one member, but many. (1 Corinthians 12:14). The many parts of the whole body, not just yours. (Ephesians 4:25). So you see, it is the many member body of Christ, "those teaching the truth in His Word" that make up the true church. Don't let anyone tell you that their church, denomination, or organization is the only true church. Do not be deceived! For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:11). Jesus Christ is that only foundation we need. "The one true "Rock" that the true church is built upon. (Matthew 16:18, Acts 4:11-12). And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. (Ephesians 2:20). What a foundation we stand on. Once again, the Prophets are the Old Testament, the Apostles are the New Testament, and Christ is the head cornerstone and "Rock" for both. Put your faith in Jesus Christ and the teachings of the gospels as it is written.
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